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Old 06-05-2009, 11:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Tall tires for hauling?

Hey guys, hope this is in the right section. I am building a 76 Chevy Crew Cab into a 1 ton 4X4 (currently 2WD) and plan to do LOTS of highway hauling, mainly old cars. Only have a single car trailer now but hope to get a 40' goose neck soon. Anyhow, I was hoping to get some knowledge and advice from you all.

It will be lifted at least 6" but I hope no more than 8" at the VERY most. Going to be running an NV4500 with probably 4.10 gears.

Obviously I will want to get as good of fuel economy as possible so I am wondering what tire size and axle ratio I should run. I am really wanting to run 37's on it. It will obviously be primarily for looks but I will beat on it some in the mud and trails, but after all, it is about 1/4 mile long.

Does anyone have any experience with any good tires with a fairly aggressive tread hauling and lots of highway miles? Good bad or indifferent?

Am I defeating the purpose of better fuel economy with the 37's and 4.10's being heavier and all? Should I bite the bullet and sacrifice looks for some 35's or even smaller and maybe 3.73's or something? Or even 37's with 3.73's???

I know fuel economy will never be great but since I am starting from scratch basically I would like to optimize it as much as possible.

Any suggestions, experiences or whatever are all welcome. Thanks for your time.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Better fuel economy and a '76 big block crew cab on 37's and a 6" lift. Whats the difference between 6mpg and 7mpg
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Better fuel economy and a '76 big block crew cab on 37's and a 6" lift. Whats the difference between 6mpg and 7mpg
1 mpg.

Recently took the truck 3000 miles in a matter of 2 weeks.

1 mpg equates to about $180 in that time span. I will easily get that amount of miles in a month, so take it times 12 and you get over $2000 dollars worth of difference. That is a big enough difference for me to put some thought into this and try to get others experience.

Thanks for your input...
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Aggressive tread and fuel economy do not go together. If you want good economy, stick with gears in the low 3's (as low as you can go while still having enough power). Taller skinnier tires will yield similar results. Keeping the tread the same, a taller tire will act as lower gears. Lift will only hurt as well. If you want good mileage from this rig, you are either gonna be limited to easier trails or gonna need a trail rig.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Aggressive tread and fuel economy do not go together. If you want good economy, stick with gears in the low 3's (as low as you can go while still having enough power). Taller skinnier tires will yield similar results. Keeping the tread the same, a taller tire will act as lower gears. Lift will only hurt as well. If you want good mileage from this rig, you are either gonna be limited to easier trails or gonna need a trail rig.
Thanks for the reply.

I totally understand what you are saying. And trust me, I know that for the best fuel economy I would want to keep it a 2WD, lower axle ratio (numerically), etc, etc.

But I am converting it to a 4WD drive, not necessarily for trails but for excavation purposes. A lot of the cars I haul have to be rescued from fields and such. Hence the 4X4. Granted, one still does not need 37's but you know as well as I do that Testosterone is king. Why run 33's when you can run 35's, and so on...

I brought this question up because I see lots of guys hauling their rigs with 37's and aggressive tires so I was just looking for some recommendations or some feedback.

Oh, and I also have a dedicated trail rig in which the Crew Cab will be hauling FWIW.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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IMHO it kinda sounds like you already know the answer, but just don't like it much...

go w/the tallest skinny all terrain that you can fit with zero lift is about the happiest medium of the choices as I see it.

or just suck it up and keep it low... the airwall above 55 or so will kill your milage on any lifted tow rig.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Start with where your powerband is on your motor and where it's best fuel economy is. Then go here: http://www.4lo.com/calc/geartable.htm and play with some numbers (the color chart is based on a Jeep I think so it may or may not be the same as your motor). Another factor to consider is tire wear and suspension and brake component wear. An extra set of brakes all the way around, shocks, and tierods coupled with premature tire wear because of those faster wearing parts might eat up your "savings" pretty quick and in reality may wind up negligible (or worse).

For an actual tire get something with the center lug pattern as close together, if not a solid center ring, as you can for the best mileage. Aluminum Rims will be better on your brakes and suspension also.

Also I think you're gonna be pretty heavy for a big block to "fuel efficiently" keep on truckin' back and forth across the country. Truck safe

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Old 06-05-2009, 03:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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as far as finding specific tire bodels, try looking for expedition type tires.. there are a few threads on that here.

That type of tire will tend to be taller and skinnier with decent tread. That should be the best compromise that you will get with mileage and size.
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i only skimmed this,but i didnt see any mention of tire ratings,wich are very important. i 40 foot gooseneck is going to place alot of weight on your rear tires,dont get any 33,35,37 or whatever, unless it carries the proper load rating for what you want to do.

im also building an chevy crewcab 4wd project truck,but im not lifting it it or runnig a big mud tires. i put a C&C axle in mine so i can be skinny and still have 4 tires to carry the weght ill carry.

i personally think its a bad idea. bigger properly rated tires are more expensive,and a taller truck is much more of a pain to hook up and load things into..not to mention youll need an appropriately rated huge drop hitch to pull tag trailers.

build your tow rig to tow. build yourself a toy that will impress the womens with its bigness. both vehicles will perform their intended tasks much,much better

my 2 cents
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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build your tow rig to tow. build yourself a toy that will impress the womens with its bigness. both vehicles will perform their intended tasks much,much better

my 2 cents
I agree with this.
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:20 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I understand what your trying to do with truck. I've got a recycling business and often times and dragging scrapped farm equipment and cars out of creek beds and ditches. I get by with 33" AT's with my CC/SB Dodge, but then, I let the winch do the hard work instead of risking getting my work truck stuck (Stuck= NO PAY).

The largest I've seen guys using on their junk hauling trucks at the scrap yard is an 80's Chevy 1-ton with 35's. He said he used to run 40's but they were hard to control when he was using the rig to tow, so he downsized.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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why not go with 9.00 16 Michelin xl's
they are dirt cheep, i paid $125 each for decent ones up here in Canada
they fit on stock rims no problem
are a true 36 x 9 when new
can carry almost 4,000 lbs at 80 psi

they work great and are a tuff tire, i have yet to do a flat repair on the set Ive been running for 2 years.
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If you need 4 wheel drive, make it so but keep it stock height with 235/85r16s of an A/T variety. There is no reason to have a big gay truck to do real work. The people you see towing shit with 37"+ tires are weekenders or morons. If you are doing this to make money, keep it simple and small for reliability and profitability. Big stupid trucks for work are a waste of money and getting in and out of a giant truck will get old fast.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:02 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If you have to get big tires, then spend the coin and upgrade to the 22.5's with 10 lug wheels. If you are serious about doing this with a gas engine, then you are going the wrong way with everything.

Over the road running requires you to cut costs every where you can. Down time is $$ lost. A gas rig will never make the money that a Diesel rig will. Simple MPG.

If you really must have a big tow rig, then quit wasting time with light duty stuff and go find yourself a retired power company or fire truck rig. Start out with 2.5 ton running gear, 38-40" tires and the chassis to support running those loads. The truck will go anywhere and do anything except park in a garage or fit in a parking space.

You will be $$ ahead this way. It will be big and heavy to wheel in, but it will get the job done. Just don't get it stuck, or it will take a Cat to get you out...
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by YellowSub1962 View Post
Start with where your powerband is on your motor and where it's best fuel economy is. Then go here: http://www.4lo.com/calc/geartable.htm and play with some numbers (the color chart is based on a Jeep I think so it may or may not be the same as your motor). Another factor to consider is tire wear and suspension and brake component wear. An extra set of brakes all the way around, shocks, and tierods coupled with premature tire wear because of those faster wearing parts might eat up your "savings" pretty quick and in reality may wind up negligible (or worse).

For an actual tire get something with the center lug pattern as close together, if not a solid center ring, as you can for the best mileage. Aluminum Rims will be better on your brakes and suspension also.

Also I think you're gonna be pretty heavy for a big block to "fuel efficiently" keep on truckin' back and forth across the country. Truck safe

This is awesome, thank you so much for your time!
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:40 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jperecko View Post
as far as finding specific tire bodels, try looking for expedition type tires.. there are a few threads on that here.

That type of tire will tend to be taller and skinnier with decent tread. That should be the best compromise that you will get with mileage and size.
Good info, thank you.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I agree with this.
I know, I have no argument against it, just want a big truck! lol
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:44 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I understand what your trying to do with truck. I've got a recycling business and often times and dragging scrapped farm equipment and cars out of creek beds and ditches. I get by with 33" AT's with my CC/SB Dodge, but then, I let the winch do the hard work instead of risking getting my work truck stuck (Stuck= NO PAY).

The largest I've seen guys using on their junk hauling trucks at the scrap yard is an 80's Chevy 1-ton with 35's. He said he used to run 40's but they were hard to control when he was using the rig to tow, so he downsized.
This is what I was looking for, some first hand experience of sorts. Thanks man!

Maybe I will have to stick with 35's at the most.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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If you need 4 wheel drive, make it so but keep it stock height with 235/85r16s of an A/T variety. There is no reason to have a big gay truck to do real work. The people you see towing shit with 37"+ tires are weekenders or morons. If you are doing this to make money, keep it simple and small for reliability and profitability. Big stupid trucks for work are a waste of money and getting in and out of a giant truck will get old fast.
Travis..
Great info as well. Maybe I just need somebody to talk me down a bit. lol It is pretty easy to get carried away when building any sort of rig I guess...
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:51 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If you have to get big tires, then spend the coin and upgrade to the 22.5's with 10 lug wheels. If you are serious about doing this with a gas engine, then you are going the wrong way with everything.

Over the road running requires you to cut costs every where you can. Down time is $$ lost. A gas rig will never make the money that a Diesel rig will. Simple MPG.

If you really must have a big tow rig, then quit wasting time with light duty stuff and go find yourself a retired power company or fire truck rig. Start out with 2.5 ton running gear, 38-40" tires and the chassis to support running those loads. The truck will go anywhere and do anything except park in a garage or fit in a parking space.

You will be $$ ahead this way. It will be big and heavy to wheel in, but it will get the job done. Just don't get it stuck, or it will take a Cat to get you out...

Funny you mention it, I have been eyeballing a few Cummins donor engines as well but have yet to strike any deals. So far everyone has assumed I was running a big block, I never said that. It is a 400 sbc. Very strong engine and I have not had much trouble pulling anything I could fit in the back of the truck and on the trailer thus far. Not to say that I won't but for right now this is what I am going with. Right now I have managed to get right at 10 mpg on long flat stretches of road with a car on a trailer and a bed full of engines and such. This is of course in 2WD trim but with an old reliable 3 speed auto transmission.

Switching to the NV4500 o/d and some taller tires I was hoping to try and match that number but I very well could be completely delusional...

But then again that is why I am asking this here to get some info before I spend the dough. Thank you for your reply.

Last edited by 3+3; 06-06-2009 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 06-06-2009, 10:58 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I have an 84 chevy 1-ton 4x4. It has a 4 speed 4.56 gears and a stock 454. I go 7mpg pulling est.7k doing 60. I usually tow 2-3 times a month about 150 miles one way so with an old paid off truck and the amount of miles I use it for it makes sense to fork out some cash for gas and turn a wrench every now and then. you will be money ahead to get a newer diesel leaving it stock throwing a winch on it and driving the shit out of it. When your working on your truck it is not working therefore it isn't making you any cash. And 70's chevy's are great trucks but they are still a 70's pick-up therefore you will be putting alot of wrench time in it to keep it on the road.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:10 PM   #22 (permalink)
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not to mention the wear and tear on you from driving an older truck that rides like, well, an older truck.

driver fatigue will play a big part in what you want to do.
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I'll take a little more time now that I know your combination.

I grew up on a Ranch and Farm operation. We ran up and down the road about 80K miles a year with our rigs. So I've towed probably as many miles as I've run empty.

My current rig is an 02 Dodge with the Cummins. It's 4x4, 2500, lifted 5" running 295/75/16 Mud tires right now. It has an auto which I've already killed once and runs 3.55 gears.

I always thought it would be plenty of truck. Now I wish I had a dually about 1/2 the time. I went with the 295's after pulling with 315/7516's for a couple years. The big tires work, but with my tall gears, they just didn't allow enough pull when I hit the big hills here in the Sierra's. One other thing, with the bigger tires, if you have a blowout you have a lot of sidewall flopping around making a mess of things. All that drag plays hell with things on twisty roads, or at high speeds. They also made slowing down on 8-10% grades more trying on the brakes. Even though I have 4 wheel discs with good Carbon pads all around, they still don't like that big heavy tire with 19K lbs behind them.

My first 3/4 ton truck was an 85 Chevy 2500 4x4 with a swapped in 400 with Fuelie heads and a 4 speed trans. I ran 3.73 gears with 235/85/16 tires. It pulled like a freight train. Anything I wanted to move, it did it with plenty left over, but never got better than 10mpg towing. Empty I could squeeze 14 out of it if I kept it at 50-55 mph. At 75 it got 9 mpg at 100 it was down to 7 ish. The only problem was brakes. I pulled a lot of goosenecks with 10-15K lbs of gear in them and rarely had enough brakes if someone pulled out in front of me. With 33's I would have been o.k. but I'm sure mileage and towing power would have suffered. With 35's I would have been completely out of my power band at legal speeds.

We also ran quite a few HD trucks. My least and most favorite depending on the day was a 70 C50 10 wheeler with a 292 6 cylinder and a 4 speed with 2-speed rear diff. 1st and low range was good for about a fast walk at redline. Top end down hill with a tailwind was 60 mph, empty. Loaded with 20K lbs of cattle it would get 45 on the flats and a 6% grade would see you in 2nd and low at about 15 mph and hoping you wouldn't have to hit 1st and try to get high range before you got too slow.

That C50 with no locker and dragging a tag axle would most times go anywhere I could get a standard 2wd truck. It pulled hard, stopped like it should and could carry way over it's rated load without looking like it. If it had been a 4wd truck, I'd have no qualms taking it anywhere I could have fit it. Bolt on a PTO winch out of a military truck, or a good 12K-15K lb winch and it would have done anything I ever needed it to do.

The big truck tires lasted 40-50K miles of beating up and down gravel roads and overloaded most of the time. With regular light truck tires, 10-20K miles was pretty good. If I got 30K miles out of a set of 235's on my 3/4 ton I was pretty happy. Mud tires seemed to keep their caps a lot longer than the highway tread ones. Bias ply tires wouldn't last as long, but you could run them to the cords and they wouldn't blow out. The Radials blew out whenever you got past the wear bars.

As for your combination. Your trans is going to kill you. It's slipping all the time. And an NV4500 will work, but you are throwing good money after bad. Right now, on craigslist here in Reno is a 93 Ram 2500 4x4, single cab with a Cummins for 3K. Throw another 1K worth of maintenance and parts at that truck and it will last longer and pull circles around your Chevy, and cost less to do it. Swapping in an NV4500 to your truck will run you between $300 and $1500 depending on what parts you have on hand.

I'm not going to tell you what to do. I've been in love with a couple trucks in the past and it cost me a lot of $$$ that I could have done better things with. My current WORK truck is an example of that. It's an 87 F250 with a N/A 6.9 diesel and 5 speed trans. It's too old and slow to make money with, but I enjoy driving it, so I keep it around.
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:03 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Yeah I have since put a gear vendor and I am almost done building a supercharged 496 with merlin heads for my 84 1-ton. I have 33" mt's and I just like the truck but If I were trying to make money I would get something else.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:07 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Look at medium duty 19.5" rim truck tires for the kind of loads it sounds like you'll be towing. www.ricksontruck.com has a pretty good tire selection/information - definitely not cheap but may be the least expensive option in the long run.

My dad put a set of Rickson 19.5's on his '96 CTD and the truck handles his 36ft 5th wheel much better.

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